Giving thanks can be good for your health

(Originally published by Hospital Impact)

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Beware…here comes that touchy feely stuff that always shows up around the holidays … Yes, my annual Thanksgiving post.

Having gratitude can be a key component of improving your health.


Researchers have found that giving thanks is good for your health.

But that is (to use the technical term) too woo-woo…isn’t it? And something that touchy feely cannot be medicine.

Therefore gratitude cannot be part of “real” healing.

Research shows that being grateful may not only “lower blood pressure, improve immune function, promote happiness and well-being, and spur acts of helpfulness, generosity, and cooperation. Additionally, gratitude reduces lifetime risk for depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders.”

But that can’t be right…can it? Isn’t it just…gratitude?

It is not a pill. It is not a physician’s surgical prowess. It is not an incredibly challenging exercise program or a new-fangled exercise device sold at 3:00 a.m. on cable TV.

Yes, in his research, Robert Emmons, PhD, found that people who counted their blessings each week had fewer health complaints, exercised more regularly and felt better about their lives.

Really? That is just too simple. Isn’t it?

Much like when Allen Iverson once famously said (during his days with the Philadelphia 76ers) “it’s just practice” …or in this case “it’s just gratitude.” It is touchy feely, which makes people uncomfortable. So again gratitude cannot be part of “real” healing.

Showing gratitude does not generate any RVU’s. Showing gratitude does not fill hospital beds. Showing gratitude does not generate revenue for healthcare practitioners.

Therefore showing gratitude cannot be a component of fixing the broken health care “system”…

…or can it?

Happy Thanksgiving!



  1. Nice post and great way to start the Thanksgiving festivities. Thoughts we should always hold. Thank you, for starting the conversation, and I thought I would pass on two of my favorite quotes:
    –“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie
    And, from ‘Winnie the Pooh’ Author, A. A. Milne,
    — “Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather larger amount of gratitude.”

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